Online dating is a minefield: Writing up a "self-summary;" trying to perfect a balance between alluring and honest; unwanted advances from creeps. Do dating apps solve these problems?
In a piece for The Cut, Ann Friedman argues that Tinder is, indeed, the solution. She explains:
It’s fast and casual — a far cry from many dating sites’ detailed filters for religion or hobbies. Tinder just pulls photos and basic data from Facebook, and in almost no time at all, users get to do exactly what we all do in social settings anyway: judge people based on appearance alone.
But even more interesting are the stats and facts from Tinder regarding how women use the app. Even though women are usually thought of as seeking marriage/long-term relationships/true love, Friedman notes that "45 percent of Tinder users are women — and they seem to be just as comfortable with the app’s low-commitment objectification as its male users."
Then there was the old trope that, unlike superficial men, women need detailed information on a guy before they decide they’re interested. This, too, is disproved by Tinder.
Still, more and more we're judging people — and being judged — by how we present ourselves online, which is generally a carefully curated, Instagram-filtered mere sliver of our true, complicated, multifaceted personalities and lives. Can you really tell if you'd have a fun night of cocktails with someone based on a couple of pix and a Breaking Bad quote?
I should note that I briefly signed up for Tinder today to see what it was like and pretty much immediately deleted my account when I realized that it was showing dudes my real and very unique first name — as well as my real age. I felt terrified, exposed and weirded out. (Am I doing things wrong? Should I just get over it? Help?)
Nevertheless, apparently Tinder feels less desperate/embarrassing/rejection-oriented than regular online dating sites. One woman Friedman speaks with calls it "exciting and socially acceptable," and another says: "It didn't feel like offering yourself on a plate to a collection of the world's 'lonelies.'" Plus: "It also allowed for the more casual type of connection without seeming totally sleazy." Friedman puts it this way: "Tinder is fun." Which is what dating is supposed to be… right?